Halloween Safety

Dozens of homes in East Texas are decorated for Halloween. They hope to welcome trick-or-treaters next week, but trick-or-treaters never know what to expect as they go randomly from door to door.

"A lot of things parents need to do is common sense. Things tend to happen less when people operate in groups than alone," says Lufkin Police Officer Ben Vaughn.

Here is a big reason why authorities believe children shouldn't trick-or-treat alone. The red stars on a Lufkin city map show homes where registered sex offenders live.

"The sex offender's homes are not marked as that, so that could certainly be a problem. What parents do a lot of times is take the kids to people's houses they know, instead of letting the kids go out on their own or randomly going out trick-or-treating," says Vaughn.

Leaders at the Lufkin First Assembly of God Church know how dangerous trick-or-treating can be for East Texas children. They are planning a fall festival and sponsoring a Halloween safe house in a Lufkin neighborhood.

"When they come up to this house or to the church, it's a safe alternative for people to feel not intimidated. As a church, we want to be a part of Halloween, but in a positive way," says Alvin Vanderleest.

The church is not endorsing Halloween as a holiday, but the church events are designed to be an opportunity to reach out to the community while providing a safe environment.

To check for sex offenders in your neighborhood, log onto http://cityoflufkin.com/sexoffender.htm